Massachusetts plan to drop Microsoft Office in favor of open standards formats has drawn criticism from the Commonwealths Secretary of State, who says he has “grave concerns” about switching to OpenDocument. But politics could be playing a larger role in Secretary William Galvins opposition.
The proposal, which was finalized last month, calls for all electronic documents created by Executive Department agencies after Jan. 1, 2007, to utilize only formats deemed “open,” which include OpenDocument and Adobes PDF.
OpenDocument is the centerpiece in the new OpenOffice.org 2.0 release, but is not supported by Microsoft Office.
If it goes through, government employees will be forced to migrate systems to other productivity suites that could include StarOffice, OpenOffice.org, KOffice and IBM Workplace.
As expected, Microsoft responded harshly to the plan, calling it “inconsistent and discriminatory.” The company said it has no intention to add support for the OASIS backed format, but will listen to customer feedback on the issue. However, Microsoft has left the door open by announcing it will implement PDF capabilities in Office 12 next year.
Massachusetts supervisor of records Alan Cote recently told the Boston Globe that Galvin expressed to state secretary of administration and finance Thomas Trimarco that, “we will not be participating.” Trimarco is tasked with working out implementation details of the change, which has the backing of Gov. Mitt Romney.